Friday, February 1, 2013


Vatican City, 1 February 2013 (VIS) – "Believing in Charity Calls Forth Charity: 'We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us' (1 Jn 4:16)" is the title of the Holy Father's Lenten Message this year. The document, published in eight languages (German, Arabic, Spanish, French, English, Italian, Polish, and Portuguese) is dated, from the Vatican, 15 October 2012. Following is the complete text of the document.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The celebration of Lent, in the context of the Year of Faith, offers us a valuable opportunity to meditate on the relationship between faith and charity: between believing in God?the God of Jesus Christ?and love, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit and which guides us on the path of devotion to God and others.
1. Faith as a response to the love of God
In my first Encyclical, I offered some thoughts on the close relationship between the theological virtues of faith and charity. Setting out from Saint John’s fundamental assertion: "We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us”, I observed that “being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction … Since God has first loved us, love is now no longer a mere ‘command’; it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us”. Faith is this personal adherence?which involves all our faculties?to the revelation of God’s gratuitous and “passionate” love for us, fully revealed in Jesus Christ. The encounter with God who is Love engages not only the heart but also the intellect: “Acknowledgement of the living God is one path towards love, and the ‘yes’ of our will to his will unites our intellect, will and sentiments in the all-embracing act of love. But this process is always open-ended; love is never ‘finished’ and complete”. Hence, for all Christians, and especially for “charity workers”, there is a need for faith, for “that encounter with God in Christ which awakens their love and opens their spirits to others. As a result, love of neighbour will no longer be for them a commandment imposed, so to speak, from without, but a consequence deriving from their faith, a faith which becomes active through love”. Christians are people who have been conquered by Christ’s love and accordingly, under the influence of that love?“Caritas Christi urget nos”? they are profoundly open to loving their neighbour in concrete ways. This attitude arises primarily from the consciousness of being loved, forgiven, and even served by the Lord, who bends down to was h the feet of the Apostles and offers himself on the Cross to draw humanity into God’s love.
“Faith tells us that God has given his Son for our sakes and gives us the victorious certainty that it is really true: God is love! … Faith, which sees the love of God revealed in the pierced heart of Jesus on the Cross, gives rise to love. Love is the light?and in the end, the only light?that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working”. All this helps us to understand that the principal distinguishing mark of Christians is precisely “love grounded in and shaped by faith”.
2. Charity as life in faith
The entire Christian life is a response to God’s love. The first response is precisely faith as the acceptance, filled with wonder and gratitude, of the unprecedented divine initiative that precedes us and summons us. And the “yes” of faith marks the beginning of a radiant story of friendship with the Lord, which fills and gives full meaning to our whole life. But it is not enough for God that we simply accept his gratuitous love. Not only does he love us, but he wants to draw us to himself, to transform us in such a profound way as to bring us to say with Saint Paul: “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”.
When we make room for the love of God, then we become like him, sharing in his own charity. If we open ourselves to his love, we allow him to live in us and to bring us to love with him, in him and like him; only then does our faith become truly “active through love”; only then does he abide in us.
Faith is knowing the truth and adhering to it; charity is “walking” in the truth. Through faith we enter into friendship with the Lord, through charity this friendship is lived and cultivated. Faith causes us to embrace the commandment of our Lord and Master; charity gives us the happiness of putting it into practice. In faith we are begotten as children of God; charity causes us to persevere concretely in our divine sonship, bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Faith enables us to recognize the gifts that the good and generous God has entrusted to us; charity makes them fruitful.
3. The indissoluble interrelation of faith and charity
In light of the above, it is clear that we can never separate, let alone oppose, faith and charity. These two theological virtues are intimately linked, and it is misleading to posit a contrast or “dialectic” between them. On the one hand, it would be too one-sided to place a strong emphasis on the priority and decisiveness of faith and to undervalue and almost despise concrete works of charity, reducing them to a vague humanitarianism. On the other hand, though, it is equally unhelpful to overstate the primacy of charity and the activity it generates, as if works could take the place of faith. For a healthy spiritual life, it is necessary to avoid both fideism and moral activism.
The Christian life consists in continuously scaling the mountain to meet God and then coming back down, bearing the love and strength drawn from him, so as to serve our brothers and sisters with God’s own love. In sacred Scripture, we see how the zeal of the Apostles to proclaim the Gospel and awaken people’s faith is closely related to their charitable concern to be of service to the poor. In the Church, contemplation and action, symbolized in some way by the Gospel figures of Mary and Martha, have to coexist and complement each other. The relationship with God must always be the priority, and any true sharing of goods, in the spirit of the Gospel, must be rooted in faith. Sometimes we tend, in fact, to reduce the term “charity” to solidarity or simply humanitarian aid. It is important, however, to remember that the greatest work of charity is evangelisation, which is the “ministry of the word”. There is no action more beneficial – and therefore more charitable – towards one’s neighbour than to break the bread of the word of God, to share with him the Good News of the Gospel, to introduce him to a relationship with God: evangelisation is the highest and the most integral promotion of the human person. As the Servant of God Pope Paul VI wrote in the Encyclical "Populorum Progressio", the proclamation of Christ is the first and principal contributor to development. It is the primordial truth of the love of God for us, lived and proclaimed, that opens our lives to receive this love and makes possible the integral development of humanity and of every man.
Essentially, everything proceeds from Love and tends towards Love. God’s gratuitous love is made known to us through the proclamation of the Gospel. If we welcome it with faith, we receive the first and indispensable contact with the Divine, capable of making us “fall in love with Love”, and then we dwell within this Love, we grow in it and we joyfully communicate it to others.
Concerning the relationship between faith and works of charity, there is a passage in the Letter to the Ephesians which provides perhaps the best account of the link between the two: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God; not because of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”. It can be seen here that the entire redemptive initiative comes from God, from his grace, from his forgiveness received in faith; but this initiative, far from limiting our freedom and our responsibility, is actually what makes them authentic and directs them towards works of charity. These are not primarily the result of human effort, in which to take pride, but they are born of faith and they flow from the grace that God gives in abundance. Faith without works is like a tree without fruit: the two virtues imply one another. Lent invites us, through the traditional practices of the Christian life, to nourish our faith by careful and extended listening to the word of God and by receiving the sacraments, and at the same time to grow in charity and in love for God and neighbour, not least through the specific practices of fasting, penance and almsgiving.
4. Priority of faith, primacy of charity
Like any gift of God, faith and charity have their origin in the action of one and the same Holy Spirit, the Spirit within us that cries out “Abba, Father”, and makes us say: “Jesus is Lord!” and “Maranatha!”.
Faith, as gift and response, causes us to know the truth of Christ as Love incarnate and crucified, as full and perfect obedience to the Father’s will and infinite divine mercy towards neighbour; faith implants in hearts and minds the firm conviction that only this Love is able to conquer evil and death. Faith invites us to look towards the future with the virtue of hope, in the confident expectation that the victory of Christ’s love will come to its fullness. For its part, charity ushers us into the love of God manifested in Christ and joins us in a personal and existential way to the total and unconditional self-giving of Jesus to the Father and to his brothers and sisters. By filling our hearts with his love, the Holy Spirit makes us sharers in Jesus’ filial devotion to God and fraternal devotion to every man.
The relationship between these two virtues resembles that between the two fundamental sacraments of the Church: Baptism and Eucharist. Baptism ("sacramentum fidei") precedes the Eucharist ("sacramentum caritatis"), but is ordered to it, the Eucharist being the fullness of the Christian journey. In a similar way, faith precedes charity, but faith is genuine only if crowned by charity. Everything begins from the humble acceptance of faith (“knowing that one is loved by God”), but has to arrive at the truth of charity (“knowing how to love God and neighbour”), which remains for ever, as the fulfilment of all the virtues.
Dear brothers and sisters, in this season of Lent, as we prepare to celebrate the event of the Cross and Resurrection?in which the love of God redeemed the world and shone its light upon history?I express my wish that all of you may spend this precious time rekindling your faith in Jesus Christ, so as to enter with him into the dynamic of love for the Father and for every brother and sister that we encounter in our lives. For this intention, I raise my prayer to God, and I invoke the Lord’s blessing upon each individual and upon every community!
Vatican City, 1 February 2013 (VIS) – The Holy Father's Lenten Message for 2013 was presented this morning in the Press Office of the Holy See. It is entitled: Believing in Charity Calls Forth Charity ? "We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us," (1Jn 4:16). Participating in the press conference were: Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum"; Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso and Msgr. Segundo Tejado Munoz, respectively secretary and undersecretary of that dicastery; and Dr. Michael Thio, president general of the International Confederation-Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
"This year," Cardinal Sarah said, "the theme of the message focuses on the compelling relationship between faith and charity … between believing in God, the God revealed by Jesus Christ, and the charity that is the fruit of the Holy Spirit and that leads us to the horizon of a deeper openness to God and neighbour. … If we talk about the connection between faith and charity we are referring to, at least, two dimensions. Firstly, there can be no true faith without action: whoever believes must learn to give of themselves to others. Secondly, charity calls forth faith, which therefore makes it witness."
Introduced during this Year of Faith, the Lenten Message is "a valuable opportunity to keep this bond between all the faithful alive. In this sense, it is a propitious moment, since we are preparing for Easter, that is, to celebrate the event that Christians recognize as the source of charity: Christ who dies and is resurrected out of love. … Lent is always an opportune time for opening … our hearts to our brothers and sisters who are most in need, sharing what we have with them. In this particular historical moment, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of an informed and documented charity that is attentive to the many areas of poverty, misery, and suffering: from the increase in number and scale of natural disasters, which are not without human responsibility, ... to the escalation of violent conflicts, often forgotten by the media; the worsening of living conditions for many families, also a consequence of the economic and financial crisis that affects so many countries in Europe and around the world; the increase in unemployment, particularly among young adults; and the situations where jobs exist, but the workers are exploited, underpaid and without the minimum security that guarantees the dignity of work itself and consequently, therefore, of the dignity of the human person."
"The centre of this Lenten Message," the cardinal reiterated, "is certainly the indissoluble interrelation of faith and charity. … 'We can never separate, let alone oppose, faith and charity.' However, this separation or opposition can take different forms. … It is a misunderstanding to emphasize the faith, and the liturgy as its privileged channel, so strongly as to forget that they are intended for actual persons who have their own needs?human as they may be?their own history, their own relationships. This becomes so convenient for so many of us?inside and outside of church, which is fragrant with candles, busy putting the sacristy in order, concentrating on abstract theological discussions and clerical disputes?to overlook persons in their totality, the whole person to whom Christ calls."
"Another misconception is thinking that the Church is some kind of great act of philanthropy or solidarity that is purely human, in which social commitment is a priority, or that what is important is the promotion of a humanity that has culture and enough to eat." Such a misunderstanding extends to thinking that "the Church's main task is to build a just and equitable society, forgetting our need for God that lies at the heart of our very being."
"A further misconception is to divide the Church into a 'good Church'?the one of charitable action?and a 'bad Church'?the one that insists on the truth, that defends and protects human live and the universal moral values." Such a misunderstanding proposes that "the Church is fine when taking care of the sick, but it does less well when exercising the duty of raising awareness."
"Faith and charity go together, which is why the Gospel and action go together. What holds as true in personal experience also applies to the Church as a community. … On the one hand, a life based solely on faith runs the risk of sinking into a banal sentimentality that reduces our relationship with God to mere consolation. On the other hand, a charity that kneels in adoration of God without taking into account the source from which it springs and to which every good deed must be directed, is likely to be reduced to mere philanthropy, to mere 'moral activism'. In our lives, therefore, we are called to keep the 'knowing' of truth and the 'walking' in truth united."
"This is why I believe this Message is so timely," Cardinal Sarah concluded. "Not only because it falls during the Year of Faith and therefore in this context we do well to remember that faith and charity are the two faces of the same coin, that is, our belonging to Christ. But is timely because in this phase of history, when humanity struggles to recognize itself and to find a path to the future, the Pope's words present a unified proposal, a way of life in which accepting God engenders acceptance of others in all their dimensions, expressions, and needs. The Church can thus be the beacon of a renewed humanity and contribute to the coming of the 'Civilization of Love'."
Vatican City, 1 February 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., titular of Thibica and secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and
eight prelates from the Campania region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Luigi Moretti of Salerno-Campagna-Acerno,
- Archbishop Orazio Soricelli of Amalfi-Cava de’ Tirreni,
- Archbishop Tommaso Caputo, of the territorial prelature of Pompei o Beatissima Vergine Maria del Santissimo Rosario and pontifical delegate to the sanctuary,
- Bishop Antonio Napoletano, C.SS.R., of Sessa Aurunca,
- Bishop Arturo Aiello of Teano-Calvi,
- Bishop Giuseppe Giudice of Nocera Inferiore-Sarno,
- Msgr. Pietro Piccirillo, diocesan administrator of Capua, and
- Fr. Giordano Rota, O.S.B., apostolic administrator of Santissima Trinita di Cava de’ Tirreni
Vatican City, 1 February 2013 (VIS) – The Holy Father has granted the "Ecclesiastica Communio" requested of him in accordance with canon 76 para. 2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches by His Beatitude Louis Raphael I Sako, canonically elected as Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans by the Synod of Bishops of that Church, meeting in Rome on 28 January.
The Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Church, convoked by the Holy Father under the presidency of Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, canonically elected the Archbishop Louis Sako as Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans. The new Patriarch, previously archbishop of Kirkuk of the Chaldeans, Iraq, has chosen the name of Louis Raphael I Sako. He succeeds His Eminence Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly.


Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (15 August 1917 – 24 March 1980) was a bishop of the Catholic Church in El Salvador.


Scotland celebrates Catholic Education Week | Catholic Education Week,  Scotland
Catholic Education Week takes place in Scotland from 3 - 9 February. The Scottish Catholic Church encourages schools, parishes and other agencies to work closely together in order to celebrate the distinctive purpose of Catholic education during one particular week each year. The purpose of Catholic Education Week is to highlight the significance of education, not only for young people but for everyone. Students, parents, teachers and others are asked to reflect on their own roles in the education process - at home, in school, in the local parish and in other educational settings.
The organisers say in a statement:
This year's theme is taken from 'Porta Fidei', the document with which the Holy Father introduced the Year of Faith. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the positive impact of faith as an emotional, intellectual and spiritual force. It counters any notion of education in faith being about ‘closed’ minds. It calls for us to be open to God’s gift of faith and to help others to be open to God’s invitation to faith. It also calls for parents, teachers, catechists and clergy to be “credible witnesses” to faith in their words and actions so that others can be helped to believe.
"Opening Hearts and Minds to God" is the raison d’être of Catholic education. Our purpose is to develop the whole person – in mind, heart, body and spirit – and so help each young person to achieve his or her full potential for life.
At home, in the parish and in school, adults share the responsibility of nurturing young people in faith. We can prepare the ‘soil’ which will allow the seed of faith to grow and take root in the hearts and minds of children and we can nurture that growing faith until young people are mature enough to sustain their own personal faith commitment.
In this way we are opening minds, not closing them, as some critics like to argue. We are offering them a vision of God’s transforming love. We are opening the door of faith for them but they have to freely choose to walk through that door. Thereafter we can only pray that they do so.
We have developed resources for school, parishes and parents which will help adults to open hearts and minds to God. We hope that, through the Year of Faith, young people will be helped to focus on what our faith is and on how it can be professed, celebrated,
prayed and lived. The starting point for this learning and reflection is the Nicene Creed, the prayer of the Church which we profess each Sunday.
All the materials we have provided to schools, including 60,000 laminated cards, relate to learning and teaching about the Nicene Creed, enabling young people to come to know and understand what these words mean, so that they may proclaim them not only in Church but in the whole of their lives.
Our intention is that, throughout this Year of Faith, teachers and chaplains can use these learning resources to help children and young people to examine the Creed in depth over a period of some time. Indeed, we hope that they will find creative ways of explaining to their parents and other adults what they have learned and what they believe.
In such ways they will show that they are becoming credible witnesses who are “capable of opening the hearts and minds of many to the desire for God and for true life, life without end."



By Staff Reporter on Friday, 1 February 2013
Cardinal Roger Mahony (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)
Cardinal Roger Mahony (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)
Cardinal Roger Mahony will “no longer have any administrative or public duties” as retired Archbishop of Los Angeles because of past failures to protect children from clerical sex abuse, Archbishop José Gomez has said.
Archbishop Gomez, Cardinal Mahony’s successor as Archbishop of Los Angeles, made the statement on the same day the archdiocese published the files of clergy who were the subject of a 2007 global abuse settlement. The material has been posted on a website, along with supporting information that includes the names of senior Church figures.
Archbishop Gomez also accepted Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry’s request to be relieved of his responsibility as the regional bishop of Santa Barbara.
Cardinal Mahony, now 76, led the archdiocese from 1985 until his March 2011 retirement. Bishop Curry, 70, was the archdiocese’s vicar of clergy and chief adviser on sexual abuse cases in the mid-1980s.
“These files document abuses that happened decades ago,” Archbishop Gomez said. “But that does not make them less serious. I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behaviour described in these files is terribly sad and evil.
“There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed. We need to acknowledge that terrible failure today,” he said.
Some of files show archdiocesan officials worked to conceal child molestation by priests from law enforcement authorities in the 1980s. Memos exchanged in 1986 and 1987 by the cardinal and the bishop reveal proposals to keep police from investigating three priests who had admitted to Church officials that they molested young boys.
“Sad and shameful as the past history of sexual abuse is,” an archdiocesan statement said, “the Archdiocese of Los Angeles can point to more than a decade of modern child protection efforts that are among the most effective in the nation at preventing abuse and dealing with allegations of abuse.”
Archbishop Gomez in his statement noted that Cardinal Mahony “has expressed his sorrow for his failure to fully protect young people entrusted to his care” and Bishop Curry “has also publicly apologised for his decisions while serving as vicar for clergy”.
“Effective immediately,” he continued, “I have informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties” and accepted Bishop Curry’s request to be relieved of his responsibility as the regional bishop of Santa Barbara.
Archbishop Gomez said that “reading these files, reflecting on the wounds that were caused, has been the saddest experience I’ve had since becoming your archbishop in 2011.”
“To every victim of child sexual abuse by a member of our Church: I want to help you in your healing. I am profoundly sorry for these sins against you,” he said. “To every Catholic in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, I want you to know: We will continue, as we have for many years now, to immediately report every credible allegation of abuse to law enforcement authorities and to remove those credibly accused from ministry.
“We will continue to work, every day, to make sure that our children are safe and loved and cared for in our parishes, schools and in every ministry in the archdiocese,” he said.
The 2007 settlement for $600 million covered more than 500 people who made claims about being sexually abuse by priests and other church personnel. Some of the priests who had claims against them sued to keep their names from being released, saying it violated their privacy rights.
A Superior Court judge ruled in early January that the names of personnel identified in the files could be made public, overturning an earlier decision by a retired federal judge who was acting as a mediator in a settlement between the archdiocese and victims who said they had been abused.
Church officials in Los Angeles had fought for years to keep the files private.
The documents show that Bishop Curry suggested to Cardinal Mahony that they prevent the priests from seeing therapists who might alert authorities and that the priests be given out-of-state assignments to avoid criminal investigators.
Cardinal Mahony said last month that he prays for victims of abuse by priests daily as he celebrates Mass in his private chapel.
“It remains my daily and fervent prayer that God’s grace will flood the heart and soul of each victim, and that their life journey continues forward with ever greater healing,” he said in a statement, explaining that on his altar he keeps cards with the names of each of the 90 victims he met with from 2006 to 2008.
“As I thumb through those cards I often pause as I am reminded of each personal story and the anguish that accompanies that life story,” the cardinal said. “I am sorry.”
Archdiocesan spokesman Tod Tamberg said that while he has been relieved of administrative and public duties, Cardinal Mahony will continue to say Mass in the parish where he lives.
The cardinal sits on three Vatican offices: the Congregation for Eastern Churches, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See. He would normally keep those positions until the retirement age of 80.
When asked by Catholic News Service in Rome if Archbishop Gomez’s action to relieve Cardinal Mahony of administrative duties will affect his role with those offices, Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi responded only by stating that the “measure taken by the archbishop naturally regards his archdiocese and not other duties that Cardinal Mahony has received from the pope in the Roman Curia.”
The retired archbishop was named a cardinal in 1991. As a member of the College of Cardinals who is under the age of 80, he is eligible to vote in a conclave.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
1 Feb 2013

Penny and Jason Slade were on hand when their twin girls Sibella (left) and Stevie (right) started school yesterday
Thousands of school students put their holidays behind them and got out the schoolbags this week for the start of a new school year.
For many it was "school as usual". For others walking through the school gates for the first time it was a moment of apprehension.
But for gorgeous twins Stevie and Sibella it was one of the best days of their young lives.
The five-year-old twin girls were so excited about their first day at Maroubra's St Mary-St Joseph Catholic Primary School this week that they insisted on dressing themselves in their brand new school uniforms.
"They've both been trying on the school uniforms every day for the past week and bombarding me with endless questions about school," their mother, Penny Slade says laughing.
Penny and Jason Slade were both there to help their two little girls settle in on their first day of school but even though they stayed for the school's "tea'n'tissues" morning, there were no tears from the twins who were thrilled by this new adventure.
"I have no worries about either of them. I know they will love it here. Both girls are independent and confident enough to learn and listen like they're supposed to," says their proud mother who praised the school, its staff and its Principal, Pam Forde.
"The school's Orientation has been fantastic and we are really happy the girls will be surrounded by such great teachers and school support group," she said.
The tea'n'tissues mornings are part of the Maroubra Catholic Primary school's Orientation Program for parents, grandparents and their families as a way to help kindergarten kids adapt and enjoy their new and unfamiliar surroundings.
"We work on including families from the start which helps to build strong school communities," explains Principal Pam Forde who encourages parents to play an active role in their child's transition from home to the wider world of school.
St Mary-St Joseph Primary at Maroubra currently has more than 300 students. Staff returned to the school on Tuesday and the majority of children began classes on Wednesday. But for the first timers like kindergarteners, Stevie and Sibella school began yesterday.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - "Two religious communities leave Cyrenaica after being pressured by fundamentalists" is the complaint made to Fides Agency by His Exc. Mgr. Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, who reports that in the east of Libya, "the situation is critical."
"On February 20, large-scale demonstrations throughout Cyrenaica are expected so the Apostolic Vicar of Benghazi has been warned to leave the church from 13 February to take shelter" continues Mgr. Martinelli.
The Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli traces the picture of the Church in Cyrenaica. "In past days the Congregation of the Holy Family of Spoleto who had been there for nearly 100 years were forced to abandon Derna, and a Polish Salesian priest, who was abused by some fundamentalists. In Beida another women's religious community was forced to escape even if in this case, for internal reasons. In Barce the Franciscan Sisters of the Child Jesus will leave their home in coming days. "
"Here in Tripoli so far the situation is relatively calm, but in Cyrenaica, the atmosphere is very tense," said Mgr. Martinelli, who adds: "We regret having to reduce our activities in that area because we have built a very strong and beautiful relationship, made of testimony and friendship with the Libyan people, which unfortunately in recent times has been affected by the presence of fundamentalists. These do not represent the identity of the Libyan people but an expression of Libyan society today."
"As a Church we will take our precautions, but we cannot abandon the Christians who remain here. Two religious communities will remain in Benghazi, a small community in Tobruk and finally another small community of Indian sisters in Beida," said Mgr. Martinelli, who concludes:" We remain impoverished, but full of hope that one day our communities will resume force. " (LM.) (Agenzia Fides 31/01/2013)


Members of the ruling party presented in an official request. The young Pakistani activist, victim of Taliban violence, conducted a "courageous battle" for "the right to education of girls." She is still undergoing medical treatment for head injuries caused by a shooting attack. Pakistani blogger: "Allah bless and protect you."

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - A group of Norwegian parliamentarians, members of the Labour Party currently in government has presented in an official nomination for Malala Yousafzai, an icon of the struggle for women's education in Pakistan for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013. The signatories of the initiative include deputies Fredy de Ruiter, Gorm Kjernli and Magne Rommetveit, who called for the award for the young woman who was targeted by Islamic extremists in October last, and suffered a head injury in a shooting attack. Still today, the 15 year old is undergoing medical treatment to heal the fractures to the skull, in recent weeks an online petition had been launched by the Change activist network (click here to sign), which has already gathered thousands of supporters around the world.

In presenting the official nomination of Malala, the Norwegian government leaders warned that "the student and blogger" has conquered the world stage "when she was shot in the head by Taliban" for "criticizing the militant group" Tahreek- e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on her blog. The young girl led a "courageous battle" for "the right to education of girls" and "her efforts were seen as a threatto the extremist forces, who tried to kill her."

The United Nations, on the initiative of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, have wanted to celebrate her struggle by establishing November 10 - 30 days exactly from the attack - the "Malala Day" to represent a "source of inspiration for girls' education in the world. " The initiative of the Norwegian politicians was also welcomed in Pakistan, with positive reviews on online sites of newspapers. The blogger pakiindi wrote "well done" and wanted to "kiss your forehead for the honour you bring to this unfortunate nation." He added: "May Allah protect you and bless you."

Malala Yousafzai - the winner of a national youth award - on October 9 last year the victim of a Taliban attack in the Swat Valley, a mountainous area in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on the border with Afghanistan, the stronghold of Islamic extremists. She was shot while on board the school bus to take her home, after her morning lessons. The girl had become famous in 2009 at the age of 11, for keeping a blog on the BBC site in the local language in which she denounced attacks by Pakistani Islamists against girls and female schools. Along the North-West Frontier, where in some areas Sharia and Islamic courts are in force, hundreds of schools - even Christian - were closed or destroyed by extremist attacks. At the expense of tens of thousands of students and at least 8 thousand female teachers, whose jobs are at risk.



Mark 4: 26 - 34

26 And he said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground,
27 and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how.
28 The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come."
30 And he said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?
31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth;
32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade."
33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it;
34 he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.

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