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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

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VATICAN : POPE : NEW NAME OF BENEDICT XVI - EMERITUS AND OTHER NEWS

TODAY'S SAINT : FEB. 26 : ST. PORPHYRIUS

Vatican Radio REPORT-  The end of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate, at 20:00, Thursday February 28th, will be marked by the stepping down of the Pontifical Swiss Guard from the gates to the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo. At that time they will end their active duty, because their service is specifically linked to the Petrine ministry. The gates closing on these men, who swear an oath to protect the life of the Holy Roman Pontiff, will thus be the final act and lasting image of Benedict XVI’s eight year Pontificate. 

But he will continue to be called His Holiness Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus. He will continue to wear white, a simple white cassock without a cape, but he will not wear the signatory red shoes, choosing instead the brown leather shoes gifted him in Leon, Mexico last year and with which he is very happy.

Moreover his fisherman’s ring and papal seal will be destroyed as they pertain specifically to the Papal office. All of these decisions on the future of Benedict XVI once the clock strikes eight pm on Thursday were taken by the Holy Father himself, in collaboration with the camerlegno and pontifical household.

They were relayed to press by Fr. Federico Lombardi Tuesday in the now daily briefing on the final hours of this pontificate. 

Fr. Lombardi also revealed that the Pope is preparing for his final public appearances through prayer and reflection. And he confirmed that the Holy Father together with his private secretaries is also sorting between documents of a more personal nature and those relating to the Petrine ministry, ahead of his move.

But ahead of his departure from the Apostolic Palace, scheduled for 17:00 hrs Thursday he still has two great appointments one public and one private. 

Fr. Lombardi revealed that upwards of 50 thousand tickets have been requested for Wednesday’s last general audience, which will follow the regular pattern of a catechesis and greeting in various languages. But the Press Office director also confirmed that many more pilgrims are expected to arrive without a ticket and will be able to gain access to the square. 

After the general audience, the Holy Father will greet leading figures in the Clementine Hall, among others, the President of Slovakia, the captains regent of San Marino, the president of Bavaria, the Prince of Andorra.

On Thursday morning, at 11am, there will be a farewell greeting with all of the cardinals present in Rome. Thursday afternoon, the Pope will bid farewell to the pontifical household at 16.55, departing by car from the San Damaso courtyard. There he will take his leave of Secretary of State officials. From there, the Pope will go to the heliport where he will be greeted by the Cardinal Dean, Angelo Sodano. Shortly after 17:00 he will leave for Castel Gandolfo, where he will arrive at 17.15. At 17.30 he will make a brief greeting to greet the faithful of the Diocese of Albano from the central balcony of the Apostolic Palace. This will be the last public appearance of Benedict XVI.

At 20:00 the Vacant See begins. The following day, March 1, Fr. Lombardi confirmed that the Cardinal Sodano will officially convoke the Cardinals to Rome. He added that as March 1 is Friday the general congregations not begin on Saturday or Sunday, but "in all probability” will begin on Monday, March 4. The meetings which will determine the start of Conclave among other things, will be held in the New Synod Hall.
Finally Fr. Lombardi confirmed that there will be daily press briefings with general information of from the Congregations for journalists following the event. 

SOLIDARITY WITH AND PEACE FOR CHRISTIANS OF THE HOLY LAND
Vatican City, 26 February 2013 (VIS) – Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, has sent a letter to the bishops of the world concerning the traditional Good Friday collection for the Holy Land. The letter, which also bears the signature of Archbishop Cyril Vasil S.J., secretary of the congregation, has the purpose of sensitising the Catholic Church around the world with regard to the Holy Land, and of promoting initiatives of prayer and fraternal charity towards Christians of Jerusalem, Israel, Palestine, and neighbouring countries.
“The Gospel message of compassion,” the text reads, “illumines the need for the Good Friday Collection in support of our brothers and sisters in the places of Redemption. Together with their pastors, they live the mystery of Christ, Crucified and Risen for the salvation of mankind. On account of its ecclesial dimension, this ancient duty is an ever gratifying opportunity. As Easter approaches, it is all the more appropriate as an expression of the faith that the Church, under the guidance of Pope Benedict XVI, is intensely living, on the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. That event opened her to the world, at the same time rooting her still more firmly in the tradition that departs from the Christian origins. Of these the Holy Land is the silent witness and living custodian, thanks to the Latin communities of the Patriarchal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Franciscan Custody, as also to the Melkite, Maronite, Syrian, Armenian, Copt, and Chaldean faithful active there. Lately, this region is also witness to the fact that entire peoples, hungering for dignity and justice, have given wings to the dream of a springtime, the fruits of which are desired at once, as if the great, longed-for transformation could be possible without a renewal of hearts and an acceptance of a common responsibility for the poor.”
“Among the first fruits of the new awareness brought by the Council was the Encyclical 'Pacem in terris' of Blessed John XXIII, which raises in this Year of Faith a pressing call for peace, especially in Syria, whose tragic path represents a threat to the entire Near East.”
“The situation in the Middle East would seem to demand what the Servant of God Paul VI proposes in the Encyclical 'Populorum progressio'. Following his denouncement of 'the material poverty of those who lack the bare necessities of life, and the moral poverty of those who are crushed under the weight of their own self-love' (n. 21), the Pope suggests not only 'a growing awareness of other people's dignity, a taste for the spirit of poverty, an active interest in the common good, and a desire for peace', but also affirms that 'then man can acknowledge the highest values and God Himself, their author and end' (ibid). Towards that goal, the Pope does not hesitate to hold up 'above all ... faith—God's gift to men of good will—and our loving unity in Christ'. With a vision born of faith, he chose the Land of Jesus to make, in 1964, the first of his great apostolic voyages. Following in his footsteps in the year 2000, Blessed John Paul II described his pilgrimage as 'a moment of brotherhood and peace, [to be remembered] as one of the most beautiful gifts of the whole Jubilee event' and expressed his 'deeply felt desire for a prompt and just solution to the still unresolved problems of the Holy Places, cherished by Jews, Christians and Muslims together' (Novo millenio ineunte, n. 13).”
“Pope Benedict also offers us an admirable example of this same compassionate outlook. Encouraging evidence is found in his Pastoral Visit of this past September to Lebanon for the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation 'Ecclesia in Medio Oriente'; the constant mention of the region's woes in the Angelus, in his audiences, and in his Messages to various people and institutions; as well as his prayer intention for January 2013, shared with the entire Church: 'that the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance'. Finally, for this coming Good Friday, he has invited two young Lebanese Maronites to write the text for the Via Crucis procession.”
“In the widest sense, the Land of Jesus is composed of Israel and Palestine, Cyprus, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. The Christians living in all these countries must find in us the same attitude of solidarity in the faith.“
“With grateful wonder we recognize how much the generous concern of Catholics around the world has already accomplished. This assistance maintains the Holy Sites, as well as the communities that dwell there. Together with institutes of men and women religious, the funds collected provide immediate relief to the catastrophic consequences of war and other emergencies. Through a qualified network of pastoral, educational, and health care specialists, these resources come to the aid of families, often saving lives that have been rejected: the old, the sick, and the disabled. In addition, aid is provided to those without work and to youth in search of a brighter future. In every case, the collection seeks to build up human rights, especially the right to religious liberty. To this one must add the praiseworthy ecumenical and inter-religious effort, which requires stemming the incessant exodus of Christian faithful from their motherland and the accompaniment of the displaced and the refugee. Taken as a whole, this constitutes the 'Christian characteristic', which makes the region, beyond all of its suffering, a Place where God is glorified, because humanity is blessed.”
“With deep conviction the Congregation for Eastern Churches appeals to all to reconfirm their ecclesial charity in favour of the Holy Land. Together with the Pope, the Congregation thanks the pastors and faithful who, standing by the Cross of the Lord, offer their prayerful and fraternal embrace to those dwelling in the Holy Land. These have earned the gratitude of the Supreme Pastor of the Church and ours, too, for by their faithful witness in the midst of suffering, they remind the world of the consoling promise of the Risen One: 'These things I have spoken to you, so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full' (Jn. 15:11).”
Also made public today was a report prepared by the Custody of the Holy Land (a province of the Order of Friars Minor with responsibility for the Holy Places), listing the works carried out with the proceeds of the Good Friday collection of 2012. Restoration and maintenance has been carried out on numerous shrines, churches, and convents in the Holy Land including such places as Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Magdala, Capernaum, Mount Tabor, and Mt. Nebo. Other initiatives sought to improve welcome services for pilgrims.
A significant part of the proceeds was used to fund student scholarships, to help small business, and to build houses, schools and sports centres for children. Other recipients of aid included families, parish communities, the poor, and cultural institutions.
 
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 26 February 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father:
- appointed Bishop Claudio Giuliodori as ecclesiastical assistant general of the Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuorem Italy. Bishop Giuliodori was previously bishop of Macerata-Tolentino-Recanati-Cingoli-Treia, Italy.
- appointed Msgr. Claudio Iovine as relator of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Msgr. Iovine was previously a research assistant of the same dicastery.

AUSTRALIA : HOLLYWOOD OSCAR NOMINEE EDUARDO VERASTEGUI VISITS

ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE RELEASE

Hollywood actor and producer Eduardo Verastegui in Australia

Monday 25 February 2013

By Fiona Basile
Kairos Catholic Journal

EDUARDO Verástegui is a man of many talents and much passion. The 38-year-old Mexican, who now lives in Los Angeles, USA, is a Hollywood film producer, actor, singer, model and pro-life advocate and he is in Australia this week to share his story ‘from fame to faith’ and to also launch his latest award-winning film, Crescendo, which made it to the final top 50 for the 2013 Oscar nominations for short film—spare a thought for him as you check out the Academy Awards today!

View photo gallery

Eduardo, who is speaking and launching his film in Melbourne on Thursday night at Australian Catholic University’s Central Hall in Fitzroy, was born in Xicotencatl, in northern Mexico, and was raised a Catholic. However, he was ‘always lukewarm’ about his faith. ‘My faith was not at the centre of my life—not because I didn’t want it to be—but because I didn’t know my faith very well, and how can you love what you don’t know?’
 
At 18 he moved to Mexico City to pursue his dream of being an actor and singer. He worked as a model, studied acting and later joined the boy band Kairo—they were a big hit and toured Latin America for three and a half years. He then started acting on popular Mexican TV soap operas—he starred in five shows in four years.

Still not satisfied with his entertainment success, he moved to Miami. His ‘big break’ came on the plane from Miami to Los Angeles, when he met a casting director for 20th Century Fox who invited Eduardo to audition for a film role. Successful in the audition, he packed his bags for Los Angeles, and a career in films that continues today—although his focus has now completely changed.

‘I was one of those people who thought if I had physical beauty, fame, women and wealth, then I’d be happy—I’d be somebody,’ he said. ‘That’s what our society teaches us and I bought it. But I realised I had nothing—I was empty inside.’

Thanks to his English teacher, who gently and consistently questioned Eduardo about his Catholic faith and his ‘purpose in life’, he realised that he had not been using his creative talents responsibly. He also realised he ‘was not born to be a movie star, a producer, doctor or lawyer’. Rather, he was ‘born to know, to love and to serve God. We are all called to be saints,’ he said.
 
At the age of 28, Eduardo made a promise to God that he would ‘no longer take jobs that offended God, his family or his Latino culture’. He had thought about life in the priesthood, or a life of mission in the Amazon jungles, but eventually a priest friend persuaded him to remain in the ‘Hollywood jungle’, where he could be ‘a light in the darkness’.

In 2004 he co-founded Metanoia Films—Metanoia is Greek for conversion and encapsulates his own personal experience. Its first fruit, the movie Bella—which he produced and starred in—won the People’s Choice award at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival. He has also starred in For Greater Glory alongside Andy Garcia and Eva Longoria, and is currently producing Little Boy, which is due for release later this year.

Eduardo has received numerous awards in recognition of his positive contribution to the Latin American community and to promoting a culture of life. He is the founder of non-profit organisations, Let’s Be Heroes and Mantle of Guadalupe. For more information about Eduardo, see www.eduardoverastegui.com.ar/ingles

For more information about Eduardo’s public talks this week in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, click HERE


ADDED FEATURE! QnA with Eduardo Verástegui

While enjoying a coffee in a local café on Friday afternoon, Eduardo shared some more interesting facts about himself and his work with Kairos Catholic Journal's photo-journalist, Fiona Basile.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing Catholics today?

We have the truth, but we need to work on our marketing. We need to recognise that media is very powerful, whether it be film, television, internet, video games, radio or music. In the United States, the average time spent in meaningful conversation between parents and children is around 6 minutes a day, whereas the children are spending about 8 hours a day in front of media. So we know who is educating the youth right now and it’s not parents, schools or the Church. There is nothing wrong with media, it’s just a tool and in fact, when used well, it can change the world. The problem however is what’s coming out of the media and right now, I’d say more than 80% is poisoning our society. So we need to deliver our message of love, truth, beauty and goodness in an attractive way.

You mentioned chastity also being an important issue, particularly for young people.
 
There are many people, even Catholics, who don’t know the real meaning of chastity. Many people think chastity and celibacy is the same thing and that only priests or religious are called to live chastely, but we are all called to live chastely. We need to be effective in sending out this message, particularly to our young people, so that they know the wisdom and reasons for living a chaste life. We need to talk about why it’s healthy, and a good thing to be able to control ourselves. If we are called to be saints, there is no sanctity without chastity—chastity is the big rock that sustains everything. And you need to pray for the grace of chastity—it’s a gift from the Holy Spirit.

In difficult times, what gets you through?

Mass is the centre of my day. We are in a fight and this fight doesn’t end until we die. We’re human and we’re facing big temptations every day, so the only way to be victorious is if you have God on your side. That’s why Mass and communion for me is the most important part of my life—everything else comes from that. It’s also important to recognise what the purpose of your life is—it’s to be a saint. As Mother Teresa said, ‘we are not called to be successful, we are called to be faithful to God’. I think when you understand that, it makes it a little easier because you at least know where you’re going, you know your purpose and meaning in life, so you can make the decisions you need to make. That gives a lot of peace and freedom.

What is the purpose of your film production company, Metanoia Films?

To produce films that not only entertain but which also make a difference in people’s lives. We want our audience to leave feeling inspired to be a better person, wanting to love and forgive more, and that they will have hope and fire in their hearts. My hope as an artist is to elevate the intellect to what is good, beautiful and truthful. I want to use art to heal the wounds that people have in their hearts and to think more about forgiveness, love, compassion and generosity—all the virtues in general.

In the opening of your movie Bella you say, ‘My grandmother once told me, if you want to make God laugh tell him your plans'. It’s a beautiful opening line.

It’s a famous sentence and it goes on to say, ‘And if you want to make God cry, follow those plans'. Sometimes our worst enemy can be our own personal dreams if they’re not in line with God’s will. Even if those dreams are good, if they’re not in line with God’s will, then you’re not going to be happy.

You’ve won a lot of awards for your film work and for promoting a culture of life. Is there an award that you’re particularly proud of?

Every award is always accepted with a lot of gratitude and of course it helps to open more doors so the message can be delivered in a wider way. But despite all of the awards and the success of the films, what is more important for me is all the people who call or send letters or emails sharing how their lives have been changed. For example, after Bella and Crescendo, I have been contacted by young girls who were pregnant and who were scheduled to terminate their pregnancies and who, after seeing Bella, for instance, they changed their minds and kept their babies. More than 1000 babies have been saved by the grace of God that we know of. Only God knows how many more babies have been saved—it might be thousands more. But even if it was only one, then that’s what matters. Life is sacred, it’s not an accident, it’s beautiful and we have to do what we can to protect it from conception to natural death.

Who’s your favourite saint?
That’s a hard one because I love all of them, and I learn from all of them. It depends what I need. I can say St Francis of Assisi, St Augustine, Mother Theresa.

What’ your favourite quote?
Mother Theresa’s, ‘We’re not called to be successful, we’re called to be faithful to God.’ That’s very liberating for me—taking into account the culture that we’re living in right now and that we all want to be successful. That’s not our call—our call is to be saints and to be faithful to God.
My second favourite one is what St Faustina wrote in her diary, ‘From the beginning of time to the end of time, all the sins of the world are nothing but a drop of water in the ocean of God’s mercy when you repent.’ I think for those of us who feel we have too much on our shoulders from the past, and that we could never be forgiven, this quote tells you that God’s forgiveness is bigger than our misery and our sins when we repent.

Where are you most at peace?
In Mass. That’s the best part of the day for me. And particularly at the moment I take communion—that’s when I feel that heaven and earth meet—where I feel that I have one hand on earth and one in heaven. That’s the most peaceful moment.

Do you have favourite hymn?
Salve Regina. I try to sing Salve Regina every night before I go to sleep.

Do you have a favourite piece of Scripture?
It depends again. I love the Gospel of St John, particularly, Chapter 1:1-14.

Other than your work, which I know you’ve very passionate about, what brings you joy?
It’s a combination of many things—I could write a book about those moments. I like to go hiking in Los Angeles. There’s a mountain I climb and you can see the entire view of Los Angeles from the top. I feel free, and breathe in the fresh air. It’s a great work out.
I like to enjoy a cup of great coffee, chocolate gives me a lot of joy, reading a book on the life of a saint also brings me a lot of joy because it inspires me and challenges me to live a life of virtue.
I like to play tennis with friends, listen to music in my house by myself, and I’m from Mexico so I like to cook. I have the fire, I put on a little music, candles, and then cook. It’s like therapy for me. I enjoy dinner parties with friends—I invite friends to my house, I cook and serve them—we have good wine, good food and chocolate. It’s those little things. It’s important to have those moments of recreation, so that we can work hard the next day. St Thomas Aquinas speaks of this ‘wholesome recreation’ or ‘eutrapelia’.

What would you most like to be remembered for?
Someone that was just trying, as best as he could, to do God’s will. Trying! But that’s for him to judge. But at least I’m trying to work hard, to do my best, and with an open heart. We’re not alone, God will carry us.

At the completion of the interview and photo shoot, while walking along the street, there was one final question I had for Eduardo! ... 'Do you know how to change a flat tyre?' 
Fortunately, the answer for me was a resounding: 'C'mon! Let's do it!'. I appreciate your enthusiasm and willingness to help Eduardo (and Tomas).

Photographs copyright 2013 Fiona Basile, Kairos Catholic Journal, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne

Photos above:  (1) Eduardo enjoys "a fantastic coffee" in a local Melbourne cafe; (2) Eduardo in one of Melbourne's many alleyways; (3) Eduardo stands in front of the beautiful St Patrick's Cathedral, East Melbourne; (4) Eduardo with Kairos Catholic Journal's photo-journalist Fiona Basile; (4) Eduardo with his yummy coffee at a local East Melbourne cafe; (5) Cafe owner Joseph with Eduardo and the "fantastic" coffee beans ... although Joseph insists it's a combination of things that makes a great coffee!; (6) Eduardo; (7) Tomas gets in on the photography action; (8) Tomas and Eduardo changing the flat tyre on Fiona's car.
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE

ASIA : MYANMAR : 97 REFUGEES ABANDONED ON SHIP DIE OF STARVATION

ASIA NEWS REPORT
by Nirmala Carvalho
The victims were part of a group of 130 people who had fled from Myanmar due to sectarian violence. The 33 survivors rescued by the Sri Lankan Navy after 25 days adrift. A Thai navy vessel had intercepted the refugees and seized the boats engine, then abandoning them in the open sea. Bangkok denies the charges.


Delhi (AsiaNews) - 97 Burmese Rohingya, who fled sectarian and ethnic violence that inflame the State of Rakhine, have died of hunger and exhaustion after being left adrift for at least 25 days at sea without any assistance. The drama of this tragedy was revealed by the 33 survivors who managed to escape and were miraculously rescued last week by the Sri Lankan Coast Guard. The Muslim minority from Myanmar has never been accorded the status of political refugees, and even when they seek refuge in other Asian countries, are victims of rejection and abuse.

The survivors' stories reveal that the boat was headed for the coast of Malaysia, when it was intercepted by a navy vessel from Thailand. The Thai military - although Bangkok rejects the accusations - intercepted the boat and seized the engine, leaving it drift with 130 people on board. They spent 25 days at sea, at the mercy of the currents, without food or water, until the Sri Lankan Coast Guard intervened, on February 23, about 250 miles off the east coast, and  helped to save the people still alive when the boat began to sink.

All the survivors, 32 men and a boy were transferred to a detention centre for immigrants near Colombo, pending assylum measures, many of them suffering from serious problems caused by dehydration. Shofiulla, one of the survivors, said the trip "was very dangerous, but we had to do it ... we feared for our lives, no work, and terrible fighting [at home]." He adds that each of the people on board had to shell out 465 US dollars to get on board the boat, which set sail from the Burmese coast on January 10.

In June 2012 the District Court of Kyaukphyu in the State of Rakhine sentenced three Muslims, deemed responsible for the rape and killing in late May of Thida Htwe, a young Buddhist Arakanese (Rakhine). This is the origin of violent sectarian clashes between Muslims and Buddhists (see AsiaNews 19/06/2012 Rakhine, ethnic violence: three death sentences for the rape-murder of a woman). In the following days, an angry mob, killed10 innocent Muslims entirely unconnected with the violent episode. The spiral of hatred has caused the death of 29 others, including 16 Muslims and 13 Buddhists. According to official sources at least 2,600 homes were set alight, while hundreds of Rohingya refugees have sought refuge abroad. According to United Nations estimates there are at least 800 thousand Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar whom the government considers illegal immigrants and as a result are victims of abuse and persecution.

SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

EUROPE : GERMANY : CAMPAIGN TO CANCEL DEBT

IND.CATH.NEWS REPORT

German debt cancellation shows equitable way to solve Europe's crisis   |  post-war debt cancellation, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, Jubilee Campaign

Campaigners have marked the sixtieth anniversary of Germany's historic post-war debt cancellation by demanding an end to the policies being imposed on indebted countries by the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank. German, Irish, Spanish and British campaigners have said Germany's 1953 debt cancellation, agreed by countries including the US, UK, France, Greece, Spain and Pakistan prove that the Troika's policies in Europe will continue to have a disastrous impact.
The debt cancellation contrasts markedly with how debtor countries such as Greece, Ireland and Spain are being treated today, including by Germany, their largest creditor. While Germany was given deep, comprehensive debt cancellation, peripheral European countries today have had very late, fragmented and shallow relief, if any. While Germany's debt repayments were limited to 3% of export earnings, Greece today is spending 30%. While Germany was offered negotiation to deal with further problems, southern Europe has faced harsh and undemocratic sanctions.
Nick Dearden, Director of Jubilee Debt Campaign, said: "The debt deal made with Germany in 1953 meant western Europe was reconstructed successfully and thrived. Today Europe has been forced into its worst crisis since the Second World War by the actions of Europe's leaders.
If we had no evidence of how to solve a debt crisis equitably, we could perhaps regard the policies of Europe's leaders as misguided. But we have the positive example of Germany 60 years ago, and the devastating example of the Latin American debt crisis 30 years ago. The actions of Europe's leaders are nothing short of criminal."
1) Swift debt cancellation
The debt cancellation for Germany was swift, taking place in advance of West Germany struggling to pay its debts. In contrast, when Greece's huge debts were revealed in 2010, rather than any being cancelled, the IMF and EU gave bailout loans. This paid off some of the reckless lenders, but the debt remained, and rapidly grew as austerity and debt payments crashed the economy.
2) Limited repayments
There was a clause which said West Germany should only pay for debts out of any trade surplus, and limited payments to the equivalent of three per cent of exports earnings every year. This meant those countries owed debt had to buy West German exports in order to be paid. And ensured West Germany only paid for debts out of genuine earnings, rather than through taking out new loans, which sustains the crisis for years to come.
The 'strategy' in Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain today is to put the burden of adjustment solely on the debtor country to make its economy more competitive through mass unemployment and wage cuts. This austerity has shrunk economies and made countries less able to pay debts. And without creditors like Germany willing to buy more of their exports, this inflicts pain without end.
3) Inclusion of all creditors
The German debt reduction applied to all creditors, whether governments or private individuals and companies. In contrast, in 2011, discussions belatedly began on writing-off some of the Greek debt to private creditors. A limited agreement was finally reached in March 2012. But it only covered private creditors; by this stage the bailouts meant much of the debt was now owed to the IMF and EU.
Moreover, holders of Greek debt issued under British and Swiss law have been able to avoid the deal, and are still getting paid in full. Many of these are vulture funds, who bought the debt cheaply when the country was on the verge of defaulting, and are now making huge profits out of the Greek people.
SHARED FROM IND. CATH. NEWS

AMERICA : GUATELMALA : PASTORAL LETTER FOR YEAR OF FAITH - RESPECT LIFE

Agenzia Fides REPORT - It is time to "move from sin to life" with this invitation the Pastoral Letter of the Diocese of Escuintla begins, on the occasion of Lent in the Year of Faith 2013. In the text sent by the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala to Fides Agency, His Exc. Mgr. Victor Hugo Palma Paul, says: "We must confess that in our land of Escuintla there is sin: due to the indifference towards the poverty of brothers and sisters, family irresponsibility, in the abandonment of children and youth, in the climate of violence without justification, in the materialistic and selfish mentality that leads to forgetting God."
The Bishop says: "The climate of atrocious violence that our people live, the lack of respect for life and dignity of every human being unfortunately occur every day in the streets of the second most violent department of Guatemala, Escuintla. When someone is injured or killed by organized crime, there is fear and no one denounces the fact".
The letter, entitled "The love of Christ impels us" (2 Cor, 5:14), invites us to experience the Year of Faith by taking up the path of love to change this situation. The message proposes valuable tools to do this: personal prayer and community participation in the various activities of popular religiousness which keeps alive the Christian community throughout history. The text concludes with an invitation to participate in the pastoral life of the Church, especially in parishes, nucleus organized of the great Catholic community.
Guatemala, and the area of Escuintla, is considered the second most violent in the country for the amount of people murdered. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 26/02/2013)


TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : TUES. FEB. 26, 2013 


Matthew 23: 1 - 12

1Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples,2"The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat;3so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.4They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger.5They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long,6and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues,7and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men.8But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren.9And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.10Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ.11He who is greatest among you shall be your servant;12whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

TODAY'S SAINT : FEB. 26 : ST. PORPHYRIUS


St. Porphyrius
BISHOP AND CONFESSOR
Feast: February 26


     Information:
Feast Day:February 26
Born:
347, Thessalonica, Greece
Died:February 26, 420, Gaza, Palestine
Bishop of Gaza in Palestine, b. at Thessalonica about 347; d. at Gaza, 26 February, 420. After five years in the Egyptian desert of Scete he lived five years in a cave near the Jordan. In spite of his impaired health, he frequently visited the scene of the Resurrection. Here he met the Asiatic Mark, at a later date a deacon of his church and his biographer. To effect the sale of the property still owned by Porphyrius in his native city, Mark set out for Thessalonica and, upon his return, the proceeds were distributed among the monasteries of Egypt and among the necessitous in and around Jerusalem. In 392 Porphyrius was ordained to the priesthood, and the relic of the Holy Cross was intrusted to his care. In 395 he became Bishop of Gaza, a stronghold of paganism, with an insignificant Christian community. The attitude of the pagan population was hostile so that the bishop appealed to the emperor for protection and pleaded repeatedly for the destruction of pagan temples. He finally obtained an imperial rescript ordering the destruction of pagan sanctuaries at Gaza. A Christian church was erected on the site of the temple of Marnas. In 415 Porphyrius attended the Council of Diospolis. The "Vita S. Porphyrii" of Mark the Deacon, formerly known only in a Latin translation, was published in 1874 by M. Haupt in its original Greek text; a new edition was issued in 1895 by the Bonn Philological Society.


(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/P/stporphyrius.asp#ixzz1nUT80u8b
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