Wednesday, June 12, 2013





Vatican Radio REPORT: Below is an English language translation of the Pope’s Appeal on the World Day Against Child Labour:
"Today the World Day Against Child Labour is being celebrated all over the world, with a reference in particular to the Exploitation of Children in domestic work: Listen, it is a deplorable phenomenon which is constantly increasing, especially in poor countries. There are millions of children, mostly girls, who are victims of this hidden form of exploitation that often involves abuse, mistreatment and discrimination. This is a real form of slavery.
It is my heartfelt hope that the international community will initiate still more effective measures in addressing this authentic plague.
All children must be able to play, study, pray and grow, in their families, this in a harmonic context, in love and serenity but these people instead of playing are slaves, and this is a plague. This is their right and our duty. A serene childhood allows children to look with confidence towards life and tomorrow. Woe to those who stifle them in their joyful enthusiasm of hope!" SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

Meanwhile,on this World Day Against Child Labour, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has issued a report highlighting the conditions of children who are working as domestic workers.
The findings show that an estimated 10.5 million children worldwide are working as domestic workers in people’s homes, in hazardous and sometimes slavery-like conditions.

Six and a half million of these child labourers are aged between five and 14 years-old and more than 71 per cent are girls.

“Almost every day of the year we see reports of children being exposed to physical abuse, physiological abuse, sometimes to sexual violence. These children are often isolated from the family, they can be hidden from the public eye and they’re highly dependent on their employers”, says Patrick Quinn, Senior Specialist at the ILO’s programme on the elimination of child labour.


Vatican City, 12 June 2013 (VIS) – Please find below Vatican Radio's full translation of his address.

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today I would like to touch briefly on another of the terms with which the Second Vatican Council defined the Church, that of “People of God" (cf. Dogmatic Constitution. Lumen Gentium, 9; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 782). I shall do so with a few questions upon which we can all reflect.

1. What does it mean to be "People of God"? First of all, it means that God does not really belong to any people; for it is He who calls us, who summons us, who invites us to be part of his people, and this invitation is open to all, without distinction, because God’s mercy “desires all people to be saved "(1 Tim 2:4). Jesus does not tell the Apostles and us to form an exclusive group, an elite group. Jesus says: Go and make disciples of all nations (cf. Mt 28:19). St Paul says that within the people of God, in the Church, "there is neither Jew nor Gentile ... for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:28). I would like to say to those who feel far from God and the Church, to those who are fearful or indifferent, to those who think they can no longer change: the Lord is calling you too to be part of his people and he does it with great respect and love! He invites us to be a part of this people, the people of God

2. How do you become a member of this people? It is not through physical birth, but through a new birth. In the Gospel, Jesus tells Nicodemus that one must be born from above, of water and of spirit to enter the Kingdom of God (cf. John 3:3-5). It is through Baptism that we are introduced to this people, through faith in Christ, the gift of God which must be nurtured and tended to throughout our whole life. Let us ask ourselves: how can I grow in the faith that I received in my Baptism? How do tend to this faith that I have received and that the people of God has? How do I make it grow? And another question.

3. What is the law of the People of God? It is the law of love, love for God and love for our neighbor according to the new commandment that the Lord left us (cf. Jn 13:34). It is a love, however, that is not sterile sentimentality or something vague, it is recognizing God as the only Lord of life and, at the same time, accepting the other as a true brother, overcoming divisions, rivalry, misunderstandings, selfishness; the two things go together. We have still so far to go to be able to live concretely according to this new law, the law of the Holy Spirit working within us, the law of charity, of love! When we see in the many wars between Christians in the newspapers or on TV, how can the people of God understand this? Within the people of God there are so many wars! And in neighborhoods, in workplaces, so many wars due to envy, jealousy. Even within the same family, there are so many internal wars. We must ask the Lord to help us understand this law of love. How good, how nice it is to love each other as true brothers. How nice that is! Let's do something today: perhaps we all have our likes and dislikes, and perhaps many of us are angry with others. But at least let’s say to the Lord: "Lord, I am angry with him or with her. I pray for him and for her. I pray to you". To pray for those with whom we are angry. It's a big step in this law of love. Let's do it today!

4. What mission does this people have? To bring to the world the hope and the salvation of God: to be a sign of the love of God who calls all to be friends of His; to be the yeast that ferments the dough, the salt that gives flavour and preserves from decay, the light that brightens. Just as I said, it is enough to open a newspaper, and we see that around us there is the presence of evil, the Devil is at work. But I would like to say in a loud voice: God is stronger! Do you believe this? That God is stronger? Let’s say it in a loud voice: God is stronger! Do you believe this? That God is stronger? Let’s say it all together. God is stronger! All of us! And you know why He is stronger? Because He is the Lord, the only Lord. God is stronger! Good! And I would like to add that reality which is sometimes dark and marked by evil can change, if we are the first to bring the light of the Gospel especially with our lives. If in a stadium, let’s think of the Olympic Stadium in Rome, or that of San Lorenzo in Buenos Aires, if on a dark night one person lights up a lamp, you can barely see it, but if each of over seventy thousand spectators switches on his own light, the whole Stadium lights up. Let's make our lives a light of Christ; and together we will bring the light of the Gospel to the whole world.

5. What is the goal of this people? Its end is the kingdom of God, which has been begun by God Himself on earth, and which is to be further extended until it is brought to perfection by Him at the end of time, when Christ, our life, shall appear (cf. Lumen Gentium, 9). The goal then is full communion with the Lord; it’s to enter into his divine life where we will live the joy of his love without measure. That full joy.

Dear brothers and sisters, to be Church, is to be God's people, according to the Father’s great plan of love, it means to be the yeast of God in this humanity of ours, it means to proclaim and to bring God's salvation into this world, which is often lost, in need of encouraging answers, answers that give hope, that give new vigour in the journey. May the Church be a place of mercy and of hope in God, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel. And to feel welcomed, loved, forgiven, encouraged, the Church’s doors must be open, so that all may come and that we can go out of those doors and proclaim the Gospel. Thank you so much.

Vatican City, 12 June 2013 (VIS) – This afternoon, the Holy Father is scheduled to meet with Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto, dean of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.
Vatican City, 12 June 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:
   - accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the territorial abbey of Montecassino, Italy, presented by Abbot Pietro Vittorelli, O.S.B., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
   - appointed Fr. Luiz Fernando Lisboa, C.P., as bishop of Pemba (area 82,625, population 836,000, Catholics 578,798, priests 21, religious 88), Mozambique. The bishop-elect was born in Marques de Valenca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1955 and was ordained a priest in 1983. Since ordination, he has served in several community and parochial level roles, most recently, since 2011, as pastor of the Santa Teresinha de Lisieux parish in Colombo-Parana, Brazil. He was a missionary to Mozambique between 2001 and 2010.
   - appointed Fr. Michael Gerber as auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Freiburg (area 16,229, population 4,772,000, Catholics 1,984,900, priests 1,147, permanent deacons 243, religious 1,866), Germany. The bishop-elect was born in Oberkirch, Germany in 1970 and was ordained a priest in 1997. Since ordination, he has served in several pastoral and academic roles, most recently, since 2011, as rector of the archdiocese's Collegium Borromaeum seminary.
   - appointed Dr. Raffaele Coppola, professor in the faculty of Jurisprudence at the State University of Bari and member of the Holy See's Corps of Lawyers for the Canon and Civil Forum, as promoter of justice in the Vatican City State Court of Appeals.


Vatican Radio REPORT Pope Francis addressed the two extremes that threaten the progress of the Church at mass Wednesday morning: Fear of any change to the status quo which stops the Church moving forward and a tendency to follow every change dictated by today’s culture, which he described as an ‘adolescent progressivism’ that risks ‘de-railing’ believers.

Instead, the way forward for the Church, as indicated by the Holy Spirit, is that of "freedom," in continuously discerning God’s will and, he added, rules which kill charisms should not be imposed. The problem and temptation, said Pope Francis, is that we cannot control the Holy Spirit.

The Pope’s homily centered around Jesus’ words in the Gospel of the day, (MT 5:17) " Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets." He said this Gospel passage which follows the Beatitudes is "an expression of the new law" which is more demanding than that of Moses. This law, the Pope added, is "the fruit of the Covenant" and cannot be understood without it. "This Alliance, this law is sacred because it brought the people to God." Pope Francis likened the "maturity of this law" to a " bursting bud that reveals a flower." Jesus "is the expression of the maturity of the law". The Pope noted that Paul speaks of two times "without breaking continuity" between the law of history and the law of the Spirit:

 "The hour of the law’s fulfillment, is when the law reaches its maturity when it becomes the law of the Spirit. Moving forward on this road is somewhat risky, but it is the only road to maturity, to leave behind the times in which we are not mature. Part of the law’s journey to maturity, which comes with preaching Jesus, always involves fear; fear of the freedom that the Spirit gives us. The law of the Spirit makes us free! This freedom frightens us a little, because we are afraid we will confuse the freedom of the Spirit with human freedom. "

Pope Francis continued, the law of the Spirit, "takes us on a path of continuous discernment to do the will of God” and this can frighten us. The Pope warned that this fear "brings two temptations with it." The first, is to "go backwards" to say that "it’s possible up to this point, but impossible beyond this point" which ends up becoming "let’s stay here". This, he warned, "is the temptation of fear of freedom, fear of the Holy Spirit." A fear that "it is better to play it safe." Pope Francis then told a story about a superior general who, in the 1930’s, went around compiling a list of regulations for his religious, "a work that took years." Then he travelled to Rome to meet a Benedictine abbot, who, upon hearing all he had done, replied that in doing so he "had killed his Congregation’s charism", "he had killed its freedom" since "this charism bears fruit in freedom and he had stopped the charism”.

"This is the temptation to go backwards, because we are 'safer' going back: but total security is in the Holy Spirit that brings you forward, which gives us this trust - as Paul says - which is more demanding because Jesus tells us: “Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law”. It is more demanding! But it does not give us that human security. We cannot control the Holy Spirit: that is the problem! This is a temptation. "

Pope Francis noted that there is another temptation: that of “adolescent progressivism”, that de-rails us. This temptation lies in seeing a culture and “not detaching ourselves from it”.

"We take the values of this culture a little bit from here, a little bit from there , ... They want to make this law? Alright let’s go ahead and make this law. Let’s broaden the boundaries here a little. In the end, let me tell you, this is not true progress. It is adolescent progressivism: just like teenagers who in their enthusiasm want to have everything and in the end? You slip up ... It’s like when the road is covered in ice and the car slips and go off track... This is the other temptation at the moment! We, at this moment in the history of the Church, we cannot go backwards or go off the track! "

Pope Francis concluded : the track "is that of freedom in the Holy Spirit that makes us free, in continuous discernment of God's will to move forward on this path, without going back and without going off-track". Let us ask the Lord for "the grace that the Holy Spirit gives us to go forward."

Mass was concelebrated by Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, accompanied by priests, religious and lay staff of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life.


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YOUTUBE ABOUT SHARE: The Scarlet and the Black is a 1983 made for TV movie starring Gregory Peck and Christopher Plummer. Based on J. P. Gallagher's book The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican (published in 1967), this movie tells the story of Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, a real life Irish Catholic priest who saved thousands of Jews and Allied POWs in Nazi-occupied Rome.

The film epilogue states that Kappler was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was frequently visited in prison by O'Flaherty, eventually becoming a Catholic and being baptized at his hands in 1959.
Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty was a real Irish priest and Vatican official, accredited with saving 6,500 Jews and Allied prisoners.
Herbert Kappler was sentenced to life imprisonment, and did convert to Catholicism after several years, partly under the influence of his war-time opponent Hugh O'Flaherty, who often visited Kappler in prison, discussing religion and literature with him. He was eventually transferred to a prison hospital on account of poor health. It was there that he escaped imprisonment by being smuggled out in a suitcase by his wife (Kappler weighed less than 105 pounds at the time). He escaped to West Germany, where he eventually died at age 70 in 1978.



Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time 
Lectionary: 361

Reading 12 COR 3:4-11

Brothers and sisters:
Such confidence we have through Christ toward God.
Not that of ourselves we are qualified to take credit
for anything as coming from us;
rather, our qualification comes from God,
who has indeed qualified us as ministers of a new covenant,
not of letter but of spirit;
for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life.

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, was so glorious
that the children of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses
because of its glory that was going to fade,
how much more will the ministry of the Spirit be glorious?
For if the ministry of condemnation was glorious,
the ministry of righteousness will abound much more in glory.
Indeed, what was endowed with glory
has come to have no glory in this respect
because of the glory that surpasses it.
For if what was going to fade was glorious,
how much more will what endures be glorious.

Responsorial Psalm PS 99:5, 6, 7, 8, 9

R. (see 9c) Holy is the Lord our God.
Extol the LORD, our God,
and worship at his footstool;
holy is he!
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
and Samuel, among those who called upon his name;
they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
From the pillar of cloud he spoke to them;
they heard his decrees and the law he gave them.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
O LORD, our God, you answered them;
a forgiving God you were to them,
though requiting their misdeeds. 
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
Extol the LORD, our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for holy is the LORD, our God.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.

Gospel MT 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”


The NEW HOBBIT FILM will be released on Dec. 13, 2013. The Desolation of Smaug, is the second part of Peter Jackson's trilogy adapted from JRR Tolkien's book The Hobbit. Dwarves, Bilbo and Gandalf have successfully escaped the Misty Mountains, and Bilbo has gained the One Ring. They all continue their journey to get their gold back from the Dragon, Smaug.


  Peter Jackson


  Fran Walsh (screenplay), Philippa Boyens(screenplay)


  Martin Freeman (Bilbo), Richard Armitage (Thorin), Ian McKellen (Gandalf) Benedict Cumberbatch (Smaug), Andy Serkis as Gollum, Elijah Wood (Frodo), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel)
After successfully crossing over (and under) the Misty Mountains, Thorin and Company must seek aid from a powerful stranger before taking on the dangers of Mirkwood Forest--without their Wizard. If they reach the human settlement of Lake-town it will be time for the hobbit Bilbo Baggins to fulfill his contract with the dwarves. The party must complete the journey to Lonely Mountain and burglar Baggins must seek out the Secret Door that will give them access to the hoard of the dragon Smaug. And, where has Gandalf got off to? And what is his secret business to the south? 
Written by Otaku-sempa


Bishop-Emeritus Arch-bishop Michael Kpakala Francis

FrontPageAfrica BY TECEE BOLEY, 2 JUNE 2013

Hundreds of people lined the routes to catch a glimpse of the hearse carrying the remains of Catholic Archbishop Michael Francis, known to many as a 'fearless hero'.
Body of Arch-Bishop Michael Francis being carried by Priests and church members
  • Thousands of Liberians stand in the court yard and outside the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Board Street defying the heavy down pull of rain; to pay their last respect to the man who was known as the conscience of the nation. Many here today sawArchbishop Michael Kpakala Francis as the voice of the nation not only the Catholic Church for he was not afraid to speak truth to the power that be.
    The crowd moved closer, the Knights of St. John and others tried to control them as the Archbishop emeritus is being lay to rest in the compound of the Cathedral. The bell finally rings. The coffin is placed in the vault. "From dust to dust," the priest says aloud. Many break down in tears. People outside as many inside the hall weep in tribute to the man many had come to know as "poor no friend".
    This was supposed to be the celebration of a life that was well lived but the vacuum this national tragedy creates evidently makes the Catholics and non-Catholics alike cry their guts out, shaking their heads.
    "The Archbishop died since he got sick in 2004. I am here because I feel sorry for this country. Who will be like him?" a man name Julius told this paper. Born on February 12, 1936, the Archbishop emeritus fell ill in 2004 rendering him a paralysis for the rest of his life until Pentecost Sunday, May 19 2013.
    Celebration of the funeral started with the removal of the body from the Samuel Stryker Funeral Home on Friday May 31. The casket bearing his remains was carried by priests themselves; wearing whites robes they match with the funeral van from 24 Street all the way to the Cathedral on Broad Street.
    Led by the Knights of St. John International, The Armed Forces of Liberia, Catholic schools and many other groups join the extra ordinary parade that brought out more than half of Monrovia to watch.
    Ziegler Doesn't Mince Words
    The largest funeral procession ever in recent memory comes to a halt before the cathedral, members of the AFL and folded the National Flag that covered the casket in a pyramid style and hands it over to the Churches leaders. Following the parade was a whole night Vigil at the Cathedral. On Saturday the Solemn Mass of resurrection was held with International Dignitaries, Bishops from other parts of the world, and high ranking government officials in attendance.
    Chief celebrant of this high mass, Archbishop Lewis Zeigler during the homily said all that the Archbishop emeritus risked his life to speak against are still happening in Liberia. He pinpointed corruption as one of those things that is still happening.
    "In the various pastoral activities that he performed, in the poverty that was around him, in the oppression of his people by those who were powerful, in the suffering that suffering and dying of those who had no power to fight, in social injustices and corruption which is practiced in this country by the very people who are supposed to sharing the goods to all men."
    Holiday in the cards?
    "He spoke out loudly. He spoke to you, you and you. Most of us closed our ears to what he was saying. And he was consistent in what he wanted us to do. Did we listen? No! Open the pages of your newspapers, stories of injustices, stories of corruption."
    Sinoe County Senator Mabutu Nyenpan agrees with the Archbishop Zeigler. "He is correct; corruption is still around and that is something in this society that all of us need to fight against. Beyond corruption there are a lot of other social injustices that he spoke about that still exist. He stood up for all of us and as a people his memory should not be allowed to dissipate." Nyenpan said he will reintroduce a bill seeking to make the birthday of Archbishop emeritus Francis a holiday in Liberia.
    In his delivery of the panegyric Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai said the Archbishop will be remembered by all Liberians.
    "The Most Reverend Michael Kpakala Francis, who will continue to dwell in the soul of Liberia, and in the minds of all Liberians--now and yet unborn--deserves a heroic send-off. And we assemble here to give him just that."
    Continued Boaka: "Archbishop Francis was illustrious in life, and he will transcend the cold critical glare of history to become a larger-than-life figure - even in death. A fine gentleman, he dedicated his life, time, and love to his country and fellow compatriots. He was a true patriot and nationalist who will continue to be missed not only for his magnificent stewardship of the Church, but also because he carried the cause of the less fortunate on his broad shoulders."
    The tributes to Archbishop Emeritus Frances seem never to end as various groups and individuals gave their respects to the great son of the land in many different ways some broke down on the stage crying while orders just talked extemporaneously.
    In its tribute Press Union of Liberia said the loss of the Archbishop emeritus is the loss of the champion in the fight against social justice.
    Spoke 'Truth to Power'
    "We are sad because of the loss of a champion in the fight for social justice, democracy and the rule of law. Our relief is that the Lord could end his anguish - anguish that saw him suddenly turned from being 'a voice of the voiceless to a voiceless'. He painfully watched events in our country for ten years without a say. This was painful indeed. He was consistent in speaking truth to power - an embodiment of the fight against, injustices, waste and abuse."
    "For the Student Unification Party (SUP) the fight against social injustice continues. "Rest Comrade Archbishop. You are resting though, but you are still fighting. SUP remains committed to your true cause for the liberation of the masses and the fight against imperial presidency and executive excesses. For us, you rest that we may keep up the struggle in faith, action and death, if the need be."



St. John of Sahagun
Feast: June 12

Feast Day:June 12
Born:1419, Sahagún, Province of Leon, Kingdom of Castile, Spain
Died:June 11, 1479, Salamanca, Province of Salamanca, Kingdom of Castile, Spain
Canonized:October 16, 1690, Rome by Pope Alexander VIII
Patron of:Salamanca, Spain
Hermit, b. 1419, at Sahagún (or San Fagondez) in the Kingdom of Leon, in Spain; d. 11 June, 1479, at Salamanca; feast 12 June. In art he is represented holding a chalice and host surrounded by rays of light. John, the oldest of seven children, was born of pious and respected parents, John Gonzalez de Castrillo and Sancia Martinez. He received his first education from the Benedictines of his native place. According to the custom of the times, his father procured for him the benefice of the neighbouring parish Dornillos, but this caused John many qualms of conscience. He was later introduced to Alfonso de Cartagena, Bishop of Burgos (1435-1456) who took a fancy to the bright, high-spirited boy, had him educated at his own residence, gave him several prebends, ordained him priest in 1445, and made him canon at the cathedral. Out of conscientious respect for the laws of the Church, John resigned all and retained only the chaplaincy of St. Agatha, where he laboured zealously for the salvation of souls.

Finding that a more thorough knowledge of theology would be beneficial, he obtained permission to enter the University of Salamanca, made a four years' course, and merited his degree in divinity. During this time he exercised the sacred ministry at the chapel of the College of St. Bartholomew (parish of St. Sebastian), and held the position for nine years. He was then obliged to undergo an operation for stone, and during his illness vowed that if his life were spared, he would become a religious. On his recovery in 1463, he applied for admission to the Order of Hermits of St. Augustine, at the church of St. Peter, at Salamanca, and on 28 Aug., 1464, he made his profession.

He made such progress in religious perfection that he was soon appointed master of novices, and in 1471 prior of the community. Great was his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and at Mass he frequently saw the Sacred Host resplendent in glory. He was gifted with special power to penetrate the secrets of conscience, so that it was not easy to deceive him, and sinners were almost forced to make good confessions; he obtained wonderful results in doing away with enmities and feuds. In his sermons he, like another St. John the Baptist, fearlessly preached the word of God and scourged the crimes and vices of the day, though thereby the rich and noble were offended. He soon made many enemies, who even hired assassins, but these, awed by the serenity and angelic sweetness of his countenance, lost courage. Some women of Salamanca, embittered by the saint's strong sermon against extravagance in dress, openly insulted him in the streets and pelted him with stones until stopped by a patrol of guards. His scathing words on impurity produced salutary effects in a certain nobleman who had been living in open concubinage, but the woman swore vengeance, and it was popularly believed that she caused the saint's death by poison (this statement is found only in later biographies). Soon after death his veneration spread in Spain.
The process of beatification began in 1525, and in 1601 he was declared Blessed. New miracles were wrought at his intercession, and on 16 Oct., 1690, Alexander VIII entered his name in the list of canonized saints. Benedict XIII fixed his feast for 12 June. His relics are found in Spain, Belgium, and Peru. His life written by John of Seville towards the end of the fifteenth century with additions in 1605 and 1619, is used by the Bollandists in "Acta SS.", Jun., III, 112.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)



Policemen in riot gear and armored cars sweep away the barricades and launch tear gas and jets of fire hydrant to disperse the demonstrators. Yesterday police dispersed demonstrations in Ankara city center. Erdogan agrees to meet leaders of the protest tomorrow. In 12 days, at least two people dead and 4800 wounded in the clashes.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - Hundreds of police in riot gear and with dozens of armored trucks this morning entered Taksim Square, for weeks now home to a decisive protest against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse activists camped out in the square.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister agreed to meet with the leaders of the protest tomorrow. But he also warned that "illegal demonstrations will no longer be allowed in Turkey." Erdogan put his words into action last night and the police also dispersed demonstrations in the center of Ankara.
This morning, hundreds of police with helmets and shields surrounded Taksim square, while the armored vehicles exceeded the barricades erected by the protesters.
The protests began 12 days ago in Taksim Square, against a building project which involved the felling of trees in Gezi Park, one of the few green lungs of Istanbul. The demonstrations grew in number and began criticizing Erdogan's government, accusing it of authoritarianism and wanting to Islamize the secular state.
The law enforcement response has been heavy handed. According to the union of doctors, the protest led to the death of two protesters and a police officer, with more than 4,800 injured. Erdogan said that at least 600 policemen were injured.
The 59 year old leader is considered the most influential personality in the country after Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey. His party, the AKP has won elections three times in succession, on the back of the country's great economic development.

Sure of his popularity, Erdogan has asked his supporters to defy the protesters to give the AKP victory in the upcoming elections to be held in 2014.


Catholic Voices: Jack Valero and Austen Ivereigh

Kairos Volume 24 Issue 10

Fiona Basile

THREE years ago, Jack Valero and Austen Ivereigh were sitting in a London pub, ‘heads in hands’, lamenting the results of a public debate that had just taken place. The debate topic had been that the Catholic Church is a force for good in the world. A poll was taken at the start of the debate and showed that two-thirds of the audience were against the Catholic position. By the end of the debate, when another audience poll was taken, almost all the audience were against the Catholic position. ‘In other words,’ Austen said, ‘the more the Catholics spoke, the more people turned away from the Church’s position.’

Around the same time, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he was to visit Britain later in the year. Knowing the controversy this visit would cause, Austen and Jack, who both have a background in media and communications, sprang into action and created Catholic Voices UK.

Catholic Voices aims to improve the Church’s representation in the media, especially in news programs and debates. ‘It’s about effectively communicating and presenting the Church’s perspective in the public square,’ Austen said. The initiative is independent of the Catholic bishops or Church hierarchy and authority, but is ‘doctrinally faithful’. The ‘voices’ are well-formed and informed Catholics who learn the necessary skills to present the Church’s case effectively in the media.
Austen and Jack spent six months training the original 24 lay people and one priest to become ‘voices’ in the public square, who were available for comment in the media during the Pope’s visit. Austen explained: ‘In our training, we focus on the “neuralgic” issues—the neuralgic points on the body are those places, that when you press them, you go “ouch”. And that’s what happens when Church and society clash, and that’s what drives the news stories; it also drives the conversations you have in the pub, in the work place, or in the park. It’s that point when someone says to you, “You’re Catholic, how can you justify something so outrageous?” And at that point, most Catholics shrink and think, “I’d rather be anywhere else than here right now”.

‘But what we’re saying is, that’s precisely where you want to be, that’s where you need to be, because that’s where people are turning and saying, “talk to us, tell us”. So, the whole project is about being present at the place of tension between the Church and society, in order to relish it, to welcome it and to prepare for it, because we see it as a great opportunity for evangelisation.’

Jack and Austen have adopted a method in their training called ‘reframing’.

‘Reframing is about enabling the communication and the understanding to take place by moving the frame from where it very firmly is—where you don’t get listened to and understood—and you move the frame somewhere else, which allows the conversation and the truth to take place,’ Austen said.

‘It’s about changing the frame of the conversation from one place to another so that you can tell the truth. And the result of that is often a very positive one. People often realise we have shared values, though we come at it from different angles.’
During the Pope’s visit to Britain, Catholic Voices members appeared on more than 100 media programs, including radio and television, providing opportunities to ‘reframe’ the Church’s message and thus share its perspective. ‘It was a huge media success’, Jack said, ‘from both the Church’s perspective and the media’s, as the media understood that there was a group of people they could call on for comment.’

Catholic Voices was so successful that the bishops asked Austen and Jack to conduct further training in other parts of Britain, and they also started receiving calls from people in other countries who wanted to start something similar.

Fast-forward to 2013, and Catholic Voices is now in Ireland, Spain, Poland, Lithuania, the US, Mexico, Chile, Brazil and, most recently, Australia.

Austen and Jack were in Melbourne on 16–19 May to conduct the first round of training for the Melbourne contingent of the Catholic Voices Australia team, although some of the members had already received local training and appeared on television and radio interviews at the time of the papal conclave in March. The current team includes nine lay people from various professions and backgrounds and are aged between 20 and 42.

‘Catholic Voices is a movement,’ Jack. said ‘We have a dream that many Catholics recognise that if they’re good at communication, this could be their vocation, and that after five or 10 years there will be hundreds of thousands of lay people speaking, and the Church will wake up and we will be communicating. We will be switching on televisions and you will be seeing these wonderful lay people, all around the world, explaining things and the Church will be alive.’

For more information on Catholic Voices Australia:
Follow Catholic Voices Australia on Facebook: and on Twitter: @CathVoicesAU

Photos: (Top) Founders of Catholic Voices UK Jack Valero and Austen Ivereigh.
(Middle) The Catholic Voices Australia Melbourne voices team, from left: Natasha Marsh, Theresa Chamoun, Paul Sheehan, Peter McCumstie, Christina Kennedy, Dominic Meese, Robert Dugdale, Danielle Lupi and Andrew Milne. Below: Natasha Marsh practising her radio interview techniques. By Fiona Basile.
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